Setting the record straight on old YMCA building

Published 8:25pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dear editor,


My name is Tom Bolton and I am the owner of the property referred to in the editorial last week entitled “Decision needed on old YMCA.” I would like to respectfully respond to the comments made in the editorial.

First let me say that Greg Bjelke is a longtime friend of mine and has done many projects for me personally and professionally. I appreciate the fact that, at the least, he has tried to make something happen and bring this situation to a quick, safe and reasonable resolution. However as we all know that has not happened. I would like to respectfully state my final position with respect to this matter:

The building is structurally gone. It is unsafe and unstable and of that there is no doubt. Both my engineer and an independent one retained by the city have confirmed that fact and it is documented in writing.

It is a danger to the public and especially the adjoining property owners and anyone who is walking on the public sidewalk in front of it or driving by it on Broad Street. I have consistently and repeatedly made that point to everyone involved.

This is a real and imminent threat to our collective public safety that needs to be addressed. I am and have been prepared to address it at my expense and have been prevented from doing so by the city and its authorized agency.

The city and the Historical Commission have refused to allow me to do what is necessary to protect the public and private interests. It is my position that all parties have been placed on notice and are fully accountable for any potential liability.

The cost of saving the façade is prohibitive and not economically feasible for any development or business venture in Selma.

The cost of demolition is approximately $60,000 at least and will be a dangerous and tedious undertaking but is the only realistic solution to this matter-both from a safety and economic standpoint. I would have to borrow the money to do so but am prepared to do so as the responsible property owner that I am trying to be. I am trying to do the right thing here.

To date I have not had any negotiations with anyone other than councilman Bjelke and the mayor. No one from the Historical Society or the Historical Commission have as much as called me much less “negotiated” with me.

I have put forth in writing and in conversations with the mayor and councilman Bjelke a proposal that I would sell the property to the city or the Historical Society for $55,000.

I arrived at this price by calculating the cost I have already incurred to date. That offer is on the table today but is subject to withdrawal if no positive action is taken soon.

Considering the location of the property (across the street from City Hall), this is a ridiculous and low offer but one I am willing to make to put this behind me and in the hands of the people who think they can save it and are willing to spend the money it will take to do so.

I don’t believe it’s possible — but they do not believe me and have made that abundantly clear. One caveat in my proposal is that they take immediate measures to make the building safe or the property will revert to me and I will be allowed to demolish it for the safety of the public — at my own expense.

This is the true and accurate representation of what has transpired to date and where I am today. In fact I will sell this property to anyone who would be willing to buy it subject to the above caveat.

Thank you for allowing me to set the record straight.


Tom Bolton

Selma, Alabama




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